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The War of Art & The Un-Lived Life

So now that the holiday glitter has dissipated oftentimes we are left looking at our New Years plans and thinking…. What was I thinking? Instead of clearing out the garage or finishing our symphony, we add movies to our Netflix queue…. (or any other activity except the endeavor we were hoping to really accomplish).

What is this phenomenon all about?

One Word - Resistance.

It happens to us all & it’s especially a doozy for us creative types. The first part of Steven Pressfield's book gave me an interesting insight about it – Hey! You’re not alone in this. It also made me see that once we face the monster we are up against?...well, then we can find the right armor to beat it! Enjoy.

The Unlived Life

excerpt from The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

"Most of us have two lives. The the life we live & the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.

Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever quit a diet, a course of yoga, a meditation practice? Have you ever bailed out on a call to embark upon a spiritual practice, dedicate yourself to a humanitarian calling, commit your life to the service of others?

Have you ever wanted to become a mother, a doctor, an advocate for the weak and helpless; to run for office, crusade for the planet, campaign for world peace, or to preserve the environment?

Late at night have you experienced a vision of the person you might become, the work you could accomplish, the realized being you were meant to be? Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what Resistance is.

Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease and erectile dysfunction. To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we were born to be. If you believe in God (and I do) you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when he endowed each of us with our own unique genius.

Genius is a Latin word; the Romans used it to denote an inner spirit, holy and inviolable, which watches over us, guiding us to our calling. A writer writes with his genius; an artist paints with hers; everyone who creates operates from this sacramental center. It is our soul’s seat, the vessel that holds our being-in-potential, our star’s beacon and Polaris.”

Every sun casts a shadow, and genuis’s shadow is Resistance.

As powerful as our soul’s call to realization, so potent are the forces of Resistance arrayed against it. Resistance is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, harder to kick than crack cocaine. We’re not alone if we’ve been mowed down by Resistance; millions of good men and women have bitten the dust before us. And here’s the biggest bitch: We don’t even know what hit us. I never did. From age twenty-four to thirty-two, Resistance kicked my ass from East Coast to West and back again thirteen times and I never even knew it existed. I looked everywhere for the enemy and failed to see it right in front of my face.

Have you heard this story: Woman learns she has cancer, six months to live. Within days she quits her job, resumes the dream of writing Tex-Mex songs she gave up to raise a family (or starts studying classical Greek, or moves to the inner city and devotes herself to tending babies with AIDS). Woman’s friends think she’s crazy; she herself has never been happier. There’s a postscript. Woman’s cancer goes into remission.

Is that what it takes? Do we have to stare death in the face to make us stand up and confront Resistance? Does Resistance have to cripple and disfigure our lives before we wake up to its existence? How many of us have become drunks and drug addicts, developed tumors and neuroses, succumbed to painkillers, gossip, and compulsive cell phone use, simply because we don’t do that thing that our hearts, our inner genius is calling us to do? Resistance defeats us.

If tomorrow morning by some stroke of magic every dazed and benighted soul woke up with the power to take the first step toward pursuing his or her dreams, every shrink in the directory would be out of business. Prisons would stand empty. The alcohol and tobacco industries would collapse, along with the junk food, cosmetic surgery, and infotainment businesses, not to mention pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and the medical profession from top to bottom. Domestic abuse would become extinct, as would addiction, obesity, migraine headaches, road rage, and dandruff.

Look in your own heart. Unless I’m crazy, right now a still small voice is piping up, telling you as it has ten thousand times, the calling that is yours and yours alone. You know it. No one has to tell you. And unless I’m crazy, you ‘re no closer to taking action on it than you were yesterday or will be tomorrow. You think Resistance isn’t real? Resistance will bury you.

You know, Hitler wanted to be an artist. At eighteen he took his inheritance, seven hundred kronen, and moved to Vienna to live and study. He applied to the Academy of Arts and later to the school of Architecture. Ever see one of his paintings? Neither have I. Resistance beat him. Call it an overstatement but I’ll say it anyway: it was easier for Hitler to start World War II than it was for him to face a blank canvas.

– Steven Pressfield

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Now that we understand the enemy? What are you waiting for?

Go do it, Live your genius :)

And if you want to read more? Check it out HERE.

Sending you love, hugs, and a sword for that Resistance,

XO

All site content © 2016 Meredith Blis. Be your own kind of beautiful.